Suit contests exec’s move to Target

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SEATTLE — Amazon.com Inc. filed a lawsuit against Arthur Valdez, the company’s former senior supply chain and logistics operator, seeking to prevent him from starting a new job with Target Corp.

Target was not named as a defendant in the suit, filed March 22 in King County Superior Court in Washington state.

The suit, filed six days before Valdez’s start date at Target, alleges that the executive violated terms of the noncompetition agreement he signed as part of his Amazon employment.

Amazon’s lawsuit said Valdez has knowledge about its plans for same-day package and grocery delivery and warehouse operations, as well as its in-house door-to-door delivery service. The suit alleges that Valdez “cannot lead Target’s supply chain operations without referencing confidential information learned and developed by him at Amazon to drive superior performance in exactly the same ­areas.”

Valdez signed the noncompete agreement in 1999, when he joined Amazon, according to the complaint, which seeks enforcement of a provision of the agreement requiring an 18-month “time out” before employees can work in comparable positions for competing companies. These noncompete clauses have long been a standard part of Amazon employment agreements. Amazon has filed similar lawsuits in the past against employees who have left to work for rivals.

“We have taken significant precautions to ensure that any proprietary information remains confidential, and we believe this suit is without merit,” a Target spokeswoman told Thomson Reu-
ters. “However, as this is pending litigation, we are not going to comment further at this time.”

Target has been working to update its supply chain operations as it tries to attract more online shoppers. In February, the company named Valdez its new executive vice president and chief supply chain and logistics officer.

“Valdez is a seasoned supply chain leader with extensive experience in both direct-to-consumer and direct-to-store operations,” Target said in a statement announcing the hiring. “Most recently, he was Amazon’s vice president of operations, focused on the company’s international supply chain ­expansion.”


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